Where The Wild Things Are | Teen Ink

Where The Wild Things Are

October 19, 2009
By Rastaman0318 GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
Rastaman0318 GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Growing old is inevitable, but growing up is optional :)

Score: 4/4

“Jonze keeps the spirit while adding his own ‘Wild’


Forget every great coming of age movie you've

ever seen. Ladies and Gentleman, we have a winner.

Spike Jonze’s “Where The Wild Things

Are”, based on the classic children’s book of the

same name by the author Maurice Sendak, takes

what Sendak’s book did and adds Jonze’s own

feelings and interpretation of the text and takes us

on a wild, hairy, dirty ride. Wild Things as

real as the whiskers on little Max’s wolf costume, an

uncompromising and audacious take on the source

material, fantastically acted characters, superbly

written screenplay and a binding soundtrack all

combine to make one big, hairy slightly depressing

but exceedingly enjoyable movie.

The inevitable question, of course: how is the movie

different from the book? Well, those of you above

the age of 10 can all sing a long at the sound of the

gong, but be prepared for some new chords. Max

(played by new dynamo Max Records) is

a rambunctious little ball of energy who sorely lacks

attention in his home, among other things.

Overreacting one night as he argues with his

mother (Catherine Keener), Max runs away from

home, off to a dock and sets sail for the land of the

Wild Things. This is just one risk that Jonze takes as

he bends this book to his will. They’re numerous,

but necessary to advance the length and the

meaning of the film. Wild Things are given names,

original scenes are added in, and dirt clod fights are

had. All in the name of beauty, no doubt. It also

does help that Mr. Sendak himself has given his

seal of approval to the project. He couldn’t have put

it in better hands.

This being his first movie ever, I was genuinely

surprised by Max Record’s performance. He’s not

just in it for playground bragging rights. Both

Records and Jonze have such an extensive

understanding of how a child sees the world and

growing up, and they apply it beautifully to ‘Wild

Things’. Max escaping into his imagination from

the real world is a flawless transition and you’ll

never know if his experiences were real or in his

head. But of course, we can’t forget about those

Wild Things. Each one represents a fraction of his

psyche. There’s Carol (brilliantly bi-polarized by

James Gandolfini), the temperamental leader, KW

(the soothing and caring voice of Lauren Ambrose),

the motherly figure, Judith (Catherine O’Hara,

cynical and hilarious), the stubborn one and

Alexander (a quiet and attention depraved Paul

Dano), the smallest one of all, among others. All of

the Wild Things play off something that happened

to Max in the real world. They’re all as real as the

trees in front of Max’s face. You could replace them

with anything and the movie would still have the

same effect. The screenplay, by Jonze and Dave

Eggers, is able to throw in lots of reflections of

Max’s real world into his world of the Wild Things.

All of the major lines, from “BE STILL” to “Don’t go,

we’ll eat you up, we love you so”, are kept intact

and unscratched as well, so purists, REJOICE!!!!

Everything looks beautiful. From the

cinematography by Lance Accord, to the 9-foot-tall

Wild Thing puppets, it all harkens back to Sendak’s

original work without selling out the material in the

process. Everything new in this movie feels as if it

were incorporated into the book before, including

the soundtrack, done by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah

Yeahs . It compliments the action in every possible

way, giving the movie that extra emotional weight,

even though it doesn’t need it. It will be an

emotional experience, not necessarily for kids, but

for their parents, remembering childhood and

maybe even having to face their fears. Very

emotional moviegoers will be taken for quite a ride.

In the end, it is a movie that everyone should see.

Sometimes growing up means having to

say goodbye. This movie is a wonderful send-off.

What are you waiting for? LET THE WILD RUMPUS


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This article has 1 comment.

AndersN GOLD said...
on Dec. 22 2009 at 9:49 am
AndersN GOLD, Park City, Utah
10 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." -Michelangelo

Good review. Keep writing.